|Publication number||US7337432 B2|
|Application number||US 10/770,740|
|Publication date||26 Feb 2008|
|Filing date||3 Feb 2004|
|Priority date||3 Feb 2004|
|Also published as||US20050172270|
|Publication number||10770740, 770740, US 7337432 B2, US 7337432B2, US-B2-7337432, US7337432 B2, US7337432B2|
|Inventors||Sridhar Dathathraya, Mark Liu Stevens|
|Original Assignee||Sharp Laboratories Of America, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (22), Referenced by (25), Classifications (7), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Field of the Invention
This invention generally relates to automated testing processes and, more particularly, to a system and method for automatically generating a plan for the testing of a microprocessor-driven software application.
2. Description of the Related Art
Computer software applications, such as Microsoft Windows-based applications, applications that appear like Windows applications, or other graphical user interface (GUI) applications are typically tested by quality assurance (QA) before distribution to the public, using test programs. The QA team usually installs the application and attempts to interact with the application using the interface provided by the application. This interface typically involves the selection of menu options and opening any dialog boxes provided by the application. QA will often attempt things unexpected by the program designers, such as the entry of invalid data. The test program can be automated to capture the user's interactions with the application and convert them into scripts. These scripts can be run and compared with subsequently tested versions of the application, to verify that the application is reacting as expected.
Another problem in the development of a high quality test plan results from the fact that QA typically only gets involved with the application during the final phases of the product development. In fact, QA often gets involved only during the release phase of the product. In an overwhelming majority of cases, a QA operator receives an application and is asked to test the application with out any documentation describing what, or how the testing should proceed.
The above-mentioned testing problems are compounded by the fact that the same application is expected to operate identically on a number of different computer operating systems. For example, a Windows application is typically expected to work with all, or most of the Microsoft operating systems currently in use by the public. Further, the application is expected to operate the same, regardless of the human language (i.e., English) used.
It would be advantageous if a software application test plan could be developed that fully exercised every menu and option presented by the application user interface (UI).
It would be advantageous if the above-mentioned test plan could be developed in response an automatic testing program that fully exercised all the possible options presented by an application UI.
Conventional, human operator-generated test plans are unreliable and do not produce consistent results. The present invention jump-starts the QA test plan by discovering all possible execution paths of an application and generates a baseline test plan. A QA operator may enhance, simplify, or modify the test plan by editing the generated scripts.
Accordingly, a method is provided for generating automatic test plans for GUI applications. The method comprises: launching a GUI application under test (AUT); discovering access paths to user interface (UI) elements in the AUT; generating logical access paths to the discovered UI elements; launching a test plan that uses the generated access paths; and, sending test messages to UI elements in the AUT.
For example, discovering access paths to UI elements in the AUT may include discovering access paths to a UI window having a menu to present selections and to accept user commands. In some aspects, launching a GUI AUT includes launching an MS Windows operating system AUT for a Microsoft Windows operating system such as Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows 98, Windows ME, or Windows NT.
Some aspects of the method further comprise identifying UI element types such as a menu, sub-menu, check box, text box, or variable UI elements. Then, sending test messages to UI elements in the AUT includes sending corresponding test messages such as menu select, sub-menu select, check box select, text box fill, or variable fill command messages. For example, if a variable UI element is identified, sending test messages to UI elements in the AUT includes: sending a command to populate the variable UI elements with a value; and, selecting the populated value.
Other aspects of the method further comprise: launching a client editing application; generating a graphical test plan editing dialog; and, editing the test plan in response to the test plan editing dialog.
Additional details of the above-described method and a system for generating automatic test plans for GUI applications are provided below.
It should be understood that the test plan 110 need not be operated simultaneously with the tester application 104, or even interfaced with the tester application when the test messages are sent to the AUT 102. For example, the test plan 110 may be generated in response to the original iteration of the AUT, and used to test a subsequent manifestation or revision of the application. It should also be understood that the various elements of the system 100 are sets of software instructions that may be stored in memory (not shown) and called using a microprocessor (not shown).
The tester application 104 discovers access paths to AUT UI element windows having a menu to present selections and to accept user commands. Menus are a typical GUI means by which an application interfaces with a user. However, other interfaces are possible. For example, a user may interface with an application using DOS or UNIX commands.
To illustrate the invention, it is further assumed that the system 100 comprises a Microsoft (MS) Windows operating system 114, and that the GUI AUT 102 is installed in the Windows operating system 114. For example, the Windows operating system can be Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows NT, other unnamed Windows operating systems, or revisions of the above-mentioned systems. However, it should be understood that the present invention is not limited to any particular type of computer operating system.
In one aspect of the system 100, the tester application 104 represents logical access paths to the discovered UI elements using an XML format list of indexed UI elements. The XML language is well known in the art. However, the indexed UI elements may formatted in other public domain languages, or even as a proprietary language. The invention is not limited to any particular language format.
Generally, the tester application 104 identifies the UI element type, and the test plan 110 sends test messages responsive to the identified UI element type. For example, the tester application 104 may identify UI element types such as a menu, sub-menu, check box, text box, or variable UI elements. Then, the test plan 110 sends corresponding test messages such as menu select, sub-menu select, check box select, text box fill, or variable fill command messages. That is, a menu select test message is sent to a menu UI element, or a check box select test message is sent to a check box select UI element. Note, the above-mentioned list of UI elements is not intended to be a complete comprehensive list of every possible UI element. The present invention is not limited to the testing of any particular UI element types.
For example, if the tester application 104 identifies a variable UI element, the test plan 110 sends a test message to the AUT including: a command to populate the variable UI elements with a value; and, the populated value. The variable UI element may be tested using a plurality of different populated values.
Some aspects of the system 100 further comprise a client editing application 120 having an interface to the tester application 104 on line 122 and a graphical test plan editing UI 124 to accept user commands. For example, commands may be accepted from a QA operator. The tester application 104 edits the test plan in response to test plan editing UI commands. For example, the QA operator may seek to limit the testing of certain UI elements, or select a more probable range of values to populate the variable UI elements.
In some aspects, the tester application 104 includes a plug-in application 130 to automatically convert the generated access paths into automated test program software instructions. For example, the tester application 104 may generate automated test program software, using the plug-in 130, such as IBM RATIONAL® Test and QA PARTNER® programs. The above-mentioned test program software is listed as examples of currently available software that may be used with the present invention. However, the invention is not limited to any particular type of test program software. For example, the test program software may be proprietary.
Thus, an application can be tested simultaneously on different versions of the Windows operating system by remotely interacting with the different versions of the OS installed in multiple machines via a network. Here, the tester application is installed in one workstation. The tester application discovers the UI elements in the application by driving the other workstations where the application is being tested with different OSs and different human languages.
<Application under Test>
<Menu Main Menu>
<Edit menu commands>
<Menu Main Menu>
</Application under Test>
The XML produced generates a basic test plan by using plug-ins for different automated test programs such as RATIONAL® Test, that exercise all the UI components of an application.
Step 402 launches a GUI application under test (AUT). Step 404 discovers access paths to user interface (UI) elements in the AUT. Step 406 generates logical access paths to the discovered UI elements. Step 408 launches a test plan that uses the generated access paths. Step 410 sends test messages to UI elements in the AUT.
In some aspects of the method, discovering access paths to UI elements in the AUT in Step 404 includes discovering access paths to a UI window having a menu to present selections and to accept user commands. In other aspects, launching a GUI AUT in Step 402 includes launching an MS Windows operating system AUT, for Windows operating system such as Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows 98, Windows ME, or Windows NT.
In some aspects, generating logical access paths to the discovered UI elements in Step 406 includes building an XML format list of indexed UI elements.
In one aspect, the method comprises a further step, Step 405, of identifying the UI element type. Then, sending test messages to UI elements in the AUT in Step 410 includes sending test messages responsive to the identified UI element type. For example, Step 405 may identify UI element types such as a menu, sub-menu, check box, text box, or variable UI elements. Then, Step 410 sends test messages to UI elements in the AUT such as menu select, sub-menu select, check box select, text box fill, or variable fill command messages. To further the example, if Step 405 identifies a variable UI element, Step 410 includes substeps. Step 410 a sends a command to populate the variable UI elements with a value. Step 410 b selects the populated value.
In other aspects of the method, Step 407 a launches a client editing application. Step 407 b generates a graphical test plan editing dialog. Step 407 c edits the test plan in response to the test plan editing dialog.
In one aspect of the method, launching a test plan (Step 408) includes launching a plug-in application to automatically convert the generated access paths into automated test program software instructions, such as IBM RATIONAL® Test or QA PARTNERS® test program software.
In another aspect, launching a GUI AUT (Step 402) includes installing the AUT in a plurality of nodes, each having a different operating system. Then, discovering access paths to user interface (UI) elements in the AUT (Step 404) includes discovering access paths in each operating system AUT.
A system and method are provided for automatically generating a test plan, which is used in the testing of a software application under test. Some examples of computer languages, UI elements, and operating systems have been given to clarify the invention. However, the invention is not limited to merely these examples. Other variations and embodiments of the invention will occur to those skilled in the art.
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|U.S. Classification||717/125, 717/131, 714/E11.207, 717/127|
|3 Feb 2004||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: SHARP LABORATORIES OF AMERICA, INC., WASHINGTON
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:DATHATHRAYA, SRIDHAR;STEVENS, MARK LIU;REEL/FRAME:014956/0987;SIGNING DATES FROM 20030129 TO 20030130
|27 May 2008||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: SHARP KABUSHIKI KAISHA, JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SHARP LABORATORIES OF AMERICA INC.;REEL/FRAME:020995/0424
Effective date: 20080527
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